Head Softball Coach
Jeff Breeden enters his eighth season as the head coach at MTSU. 2018 saw the softball program turn the corner as it finished with a 39-22 record, the most wins since 2000, and winning it’s first C-USA Championship. Moving from a regional based program competing in the SunBelt conference to more of a nationally recruiting program competing in C-USA, MT softball has been nationally ranked statistically in every year since Coach Breedens arrival.
MTSU continued to expand its recruiting to include student athletes from Texas, California, Illinois, Georgia and top level in-state recruits.
Breeden also is committed to success in the classroom with a total of 45 NFCA All- Academic team selections in 6 years, and in 2018 MT Softball had the 3rd highest GPA in the NCAA.
A national search for a coach led MTSU to selecting Breeden in summer of 2012. “Jeff has proven at Coffee County and Riverdale high schools he can coach winning softball,” Massaro said. “He will bring toughness and direction to our softball program, and I am eager to see the results under his leadership. I have watched his teams the past few years from afar and I have been impressed with his success.”
Breeden has been a proven leader as evidenced by his 423-67-3 record with the Warriors during his tenure, guiding the school to the 2009 state championship and as high as No. 4 in the national rankings, which came during the 2011 campaign. His Riverdale squads have captured the District 7-3A title each of his seasons on the bench and three Region 4-3A crowns on their way to four state tournament appearances.
The Warriors own a National Federation of High School Sports (NFHSS) softball national record, for most team shutouts in a season (38 in 2007), topping the previous standard established by the school a year earlier by one. He coached one of the all-time great pitchers on the national level, Cathleen Hosfield, who holds the NFHSS mark for single-season strikeouts
with 659 in 2007. Hosfield also moved into third and fourth place for single-season wins and shutouts with 44 and 31, respectively, during the same year.
In 2011-12, Breeden served as the Director of the Middle Tennessee Softball Coaches Association and was the organization’s Assistant Director in 2009-10. He coached in the Tennessee/Kentucky All-Star Series in 2007 and was a part of the coaching staff at the Middle Tennessee North/South All-Star Game in 2003. The Daily News Journal selected him as its Coach of the Year all nine years (2004-12) he was at Riverdale. Breeden has also coached a summer travel ball squad, the Murfreesboro Firebirds, and guided the team to the 2008 USFA 18 Gold World Series championship.
In addition to his softball duties, Breeden also served as the school’s defensive line coach on the football staff. He coached the 2008 Mr. Football winner, LaDarius Verge, and the 2006 Mr. Football finalist, Eugene Goree. The Warriors captured the 2004 5A state crown and were state runner-up in 2003 and 2005 with him as a member of the staff.
In his 24-year career as a softball coach, Breeden has amassed a 764-188-3 combined ledger. He ranks 14th among active coaches and 16th all-time in the NFHSS record books. Breeden graduated from ETSU in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in education science.
Tony Foti returns to the Blue Raiders staff for a seventh season, acting as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator.
MTSU’s pitchers saw a drop in team ERA of over 2 runs since Foti’s arrival and an overhauled staff with 4 new pitchers coming in 2018-19. In 2018, MT pitchers led by NCAA All-Region Cori Jennings led MT to its first ever C-USA conference championship. As the recruiting
coordinator, MTSU has expanded its recruiting base with athletes from Texas, California, Nevada, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee and Illinois.
Foti spent the previous 7 years coaching professionally in Europe, Asia, Central and South America and Africa. In that position, Foti traveled the globe conducting elite coaches/player clinics and national team development camps. Foti has also served as Canadian national Team coach from 1989-1996 and again from 2005-2012, coaching in World Championships, Pan-Am Games, World Cups and the 1996 Olympic Games. In 2007 and 2008, Foti helped lead Forli in the ISL to Italian Championships and European Championship.
Coach Foti fine-tuned his coaching expertise at the federally-funded National Coaching Institute in Canada. There, he completed the prestigious advanced coaching program. The program stresses both the technical and theoretical aspects of coaching, and takes several years to complete. Foti has earned the title of Master Clinician, and conducts player and coaches courses under the high-performance softball coaching program with the International Softball Federation.
In the spring of 2001, Foti accepted the opportunity to be the head softball coach at Mercer University. Two years later, he was selected Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year after leading Mercer to a 35-23 record, advancing the Bears to their first Atlantic Sun tournament berth since 1997, and conference championship in 2003. The ASUN conference awarded Foti the coach of the year award again in 2006. Foti has also served as the associate head coach at UC Santa Barbara for seven years where the Gauchos captured the Big West Conference in 2000, a first for UCSB. Also winning the Big West coaching staff of the year in 2000. Prior to UCSB, Foti served as a volunteer assistant at UNLV, where the ‘Runnin Rebels participated in the 1994 College World Series. Foti also coached the Smittty’s U21 and women’s open teams in club ball to 3 consecutive Canadian National Championships. In 1995 Foti was an assistant with the California Waves, winning the ASA 18U Gold national championships. Foti also served as Co- Head coach of the Michigan Ice expansion NPF team in 2006.
Foti played for the 1981 Canadian Junior Men's National Team before starting his coaching career as an assistant at Valley City College in 1985. He earned his first head coaching position at Red River College in 1986, winning the Canadian Community College National Championship. Foti continued playing men’s Fastpitch softball through the 1997 season.
Foti is currently the Head Coach of the Greek Women’s Olympic Team, leading the Greek team to a 7th place finish in the 2019 European Championships. A member of Softball Canada’s Coaches/Technical Development Committee and consultant to the European Softball Coaches Association. Foti holds a BA in Education Administration from the International College in Los Angeles. He has a daughter Devyn and a son Dayne.
Chelsea Hawkins joined the MT Softball Coaching Staff in August of 2018. She will handle responsibilities with the hitters and infielders. Hawkins spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons under Head Coach Tom Cole at Gardner-Webb, helping the Bulldogs to a 29-29 record and one win in the Big South Tournament.
Hawkins was instrumental in Gardner-Webb’s success at the plate, coaching Katie Prebble, the Big South Conference Player of the Year, Big South Freshman of the Year, NFCA First-Team Mid-Atlantic Region selection, a top-10 finalist for the NFCA/Shutt Sports Freshman of the Year award and an NFCA Third Team All-America selection. Thanks to Hawkins, Prebble broke the team's single-season home run record and the Big South Conference freshman home run record (23). As a team, Hawkins led the Bulldogs to a Big South leading .312 batting average.
Hawkins also spent time as an assistant coach at UNC Greensboro. She helped the Spartans to 33 wins in 2016 – including a 24-9 mark at home.
During her season in Greensboro, Hawkins worked with the Spartans’ offense and outfielders. UNC Greensboro batted .300 as a team in 2016 with 83 doubles, 61 home runs and 282 RBI. The Spartans scored 310 runs on the season, with Designated Player Lindsay Thomas leading the way with a .411 average, 18 doubles, 16 home runs and 40 RBI.
Hawkins spent the 2015 season as a graduate manager at her alma mater, South Carolina, helping the Gamecocks with outfield play and strategy, as well as assisting the staff with post-game scouting reports and video. She was also involved with the team’s batting practice and offensive workouts.
As a student-athlete, Hawkins was a three-year starter for the Gamecocks, belting 21 home runs during her time at the plate.
She batted .279 for her career with 29 doubles, 21 home runs, 85 runs scored and 90 RBI. Hawkins finished her career with the third-highest home run total in school history and ranked in the top-15 in career slugging percentage (.464), RBI, RBI per game and walks.
Hawkins also finished with a .983 career fielding percentage in the outfield and ranked sixth in South Carolina history with 12 outfield assists. She started 172 career games.
As a sophomore, Hawkins hit .309 and slugged .537 to earn NFCA All-South Region honors. She was also a standout in the classroom as well, earning SEC Academic Honor Roll recognition four times.
Hawkins was a three-time All-State selection at Wren (S.C.) High School